Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Hyundai Department Store in Pangyo

Hey! There's a new department store in town!
Let me tell you about "department stores" in Korea. There are 4 that I can think of: Lotte, Shinsegae, AK and Hyundai. Yes, Hyundai like the car. (Fact: Hyundai is a chaebol, so are the three other department store companies, basically it means that they own a LOT of things in Korea). There are a few malls in Seoul, but mostly there are these department stores, and they're very similar to malls. I can't figure out the difference other than the "malls" are massive.

Anyway, our plan for today was Girls Day Out. I was going to take the girls to the new department store to get lunch at the food court and then check out the Kyobo bookstore on B2. But one thing led to another and we were sucked in for the whole day.

First thing's first: the parking garage. I love parking garages here. There are people at every turn directing cars to available floors and lights overhead that indicate where there are spaces. And look at this! Special parking right near the entrance for families! (Sorry about the sideways picture).

Department stores also have "cultural centers" on the top-ish floor that offer classes (you may remember that Gruby took ballet a few years ago at a department store). My friend Sue is taking two classes on Sundays here (grown-up ballet, which I believe is referred to as "barre" in America and Kpop Dance). Since she was already there, we met Sue for lunch between her classes.

Let me tell you about this food court! In short: busy, pricey, and good.


Most of the restaurants and bakeries here are based on actual, famous restaurants in various neighbourhoods in Seoul. It's really nice to have them all in one place, just up the street from where we live. I got lunch at a place called Bad Farmer. The salad was 13,000won ($10.82). It was great!

The girls got grilled cheese at Melting Monkey. It took 30 minutes for this sandwich. The girls didn't like it because it had terrific bread and a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, while they're used to sometimes burned white bread with American cheese slices. 



On to the rest of this food court:
Freshly made Gellato:
Freshly made cheese:
A place called "Happy Pill" that sells gummy candies in pill bottles. The girls yelled, "We want pills!" more times than I was comfortable with (for the record, I was uncomfortable the first time they said it). You can pick out your own pill bottle and then choose the "pills" (which are just overpriced gummies):
 Or you could buy your overpriced gummies already in their overpriced packages:

Other delights in the food court:
Muchacho's. It's not Chipotle, but the closest thing to it here (it's good, but I don't want to talk about their sad, sad guacamole).

This cute candy store that gave the girls lots of candy samples. They have candy for every occasion!


There were LOTS of bakeries:

The Magnolia Bakery that had a huge line. It looked delicious and the bakery itself was really cute but had this one wall with pictures from Sex and the City 2, which was so random.



After lunch, Sue went to her Kpop class and the girls and I went to Kyobo book store just one flight down. It was ok, smaller than the ones in On the Table in Seohyeon and Gangnam. We found a table with books in English. I took a picture of the "steady sellers" wall because I always think it's interesting to see books I recognise written in Korean. I thought you would like it too.
Once Sue's class was done, we met up to go shoe shopping, and when she looked up the store we wanted to go to, we discovered there was one right there in the Hyundai department store. See? It's like a mall. I don't get it.

I'll admit I kind of buried the lead here. THERE IS AN H&M ...WITH A KID'S SECTION in the Hyundai Department store! This is a big deal for me. As you may know, I'm American and I can't buy clothes here-it's H&M or I wait until I go to America in the summer. Until now the nearest H&M was not very close.
There's also an American Eagle. For a minute, it really felt like we were in America. We checked out a few more floors and found that you can also get gold color shoes, all the camping supplies you will ever need and drones!



The 5th floor has a children's museum that is free until Sept. 16 (after that it will cost like 5,000won or something). The line was so long that we decided it wasn't worth it. We peeked inside and it didn't look that great, but I can't really say much about it at all because we didn't actually see it. Also there's a carrousel but it's out of order and "just for taking photos" right now. 

Like most places, there are pros and cons. Also like most places in Seoul, the biggest drawback is that this place is really crowded. But when you need a good salad, or H&M or a bakery with random Sex and the City pictures on it's wall, this place is just right up the street (for me anyway).